In this article, we will explore what the Bible says about the Throne of Grace and how as Christians, we can approach it. So, grab your Bible, and let’s learn…
The Book of Hebrews, also known as the Epistle to the Hebrews, is one of the most remarkable books in the Bible.
All scholars seem to have a different opinion about who its author was, with many believing it was Paul, though others state that the book doesn’t quite fit Paul’s usual style.
But whoever wrote it, the book contains some of the most profound statements in the Bible!
One such statement is found in Hebrews 4:16, where it mentions the throne of grace, and it’s something that we often hear quoted or being referred to in sermons, prayers, and worship music.
But what is the throne of grace, and how can we approach it?
What Is The Throne Of Grace?
To understand the throne of grace, we must first examine the context in which it was mentioned.
The Book of Hebrews was a letter that Paul or another church leader wrote to a group of believers in Jerusalem. These would have been mainly Jewish believers that believed Jesus Christ is the Messiah, similar to the group we would refer to as Messianic Jews today.
Within this context, the entire book explains to these Jewish believers how the prophecies and rituals of the Jewish faith were mere symbols referring to the coming Christ and how there was no need to follow those religious traditions anymore since Christ already fulfilled all of them. When we are in Christ, we don’t have to hold to religion and tradition anymore.
The book also talks about how the high priests had to prepare to enter the presence of God on behalf of all people, but how it was insufficient.
Then, at the end of chapter 4 and the first part of chapter 5, it tells us how Jesus is our perfect High Priest, Who is standing in God’s presence on our behalf.
It’s within this context that we find Hebrews 4:14-16, which says the following:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16: A Look AT The Greek
We can get further insight into the throne of grace from the Hebrew words.
The word “throne” comes from the Hebrew word “thronos” (Strong’s number G2362), which literally means a stately seat, power, or potentate. It’s also where the English word “throne” comes from.
θρόνος thrónos, thron’-os; from θράω thráō (to sit); a stately seat (“throne”); by implication, power or (concretely) a potentate:—seat, throne.
So it doesn’t refer to the ark of the covenant or anything similar, as some assume. Instead, it refers to God as the Ruler of the universe, the central power, and authority over everything.
The word “grace” is the Greek word “charis” (Strong’s number G5485).
It refers to graciousness, benefit, favor, gift, and grace. To explain grace more clearly, we can look at the following few words that say we will receive mercy and grace from the throne of grace.
χάρις cháris, khar’-ece; from G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy).
Mercy (Greek “eleos,” Strong’s number G1656) means not receiving something we deserve, like punishment. When we receive mercy, we are not punished even if we deserve to be.
ἔλεος éleos, el’-eh-os; of uncertain affinity; compassion (human or divine, especially active):—(+ tender) mercy.
Grace is the opposite – it refers to receiving something that we don’t deserve.
For example, in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, the word translated as “gifts” is the Greek word “charisma,” from the same root word as “grace.”
This means the throne of grace is the place of God’s ruling power and authority, characterized by graciousness, benefit, favor, and gifts, but we can also find mercy there.
Why Should We Approach The Throne Of Grace?
Verse 16 gives us two reasons to approach the throne of grace:
- To obtain mercy.
In other words, we can go to the throne of grace to be pardoned for our sins due to God’s compassion and love for us, which He demonstrated and actioned through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- To find grace to help in time of need.
God gives us what we don’t deserve whenever we are in a time of need. Though the context here speaks very strongly about being tempted to sin, there’s no indication that God limits His grace to only this, but that we can obtain grace to help us with any needs we might face.
How To Approach The Throne Of Grace
In verse 16, the Bible gives one instruction for how to draw near to the throne of grace: with confidence or, in some translations, “boldly.”
This means that we should approach the throne of grace without fear or hesitation, which we can do because we know our sins can’t hold us back anymore; the High Priest, Jesus, gives us access to the throne of grace.
But there’s more to it. The Greek words translated as “with confidence” or “boldly” are “meta parrhesia” (Strong’s numbers G3326 and G3954), which can literally mean “with all outspokenness, frankness, and bluntness.”
μετά metá, met-ah’; a primary preposition (often used adverbially); properly, denoting accompaniment; “amid” (local or causal); modified variously according to the case (genitive association, or accusative succession) with which it is joined; occupying an intermediate position between G575 or G1537 and G1519 or G4314; less intimate than G1722 and less close than G4862):—after(-ward), × that he again, against, among, × and, + follow, hence, hereafter, in, of, (up-)on, + our, × and setting, since, (un-)to, + together, when, with (+ -out). Often used in composition, in substantially the same relations of participation or proximity, and transfer or sequence.
παῤῥησία parrhēsía, par-rhay-see’-ah; from G3956 and a derivative of G4483; all out-spokenness, i.e. frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication, assurance:—bold (X -ly, -ness, -ness of speech), confidence, × freely, × openly, × plainly(-ness).
In military movies, we often see a soldier asking their superior, “Permission to speak freely, Sir,” after which they continue to say something they would not usually say to a superior officer. That’s the kind of idea that this interpretation of the words conveys.
From this perspective, we can see that approaching the throne of grace involves speaking and conversation. In other words, it requires prayer.
But, not just any kind of prayer. The entire context of the Book of Hebrews speaks of how we are no longer bound to religious traditions and practices, and we don’t need any of those to approach the throne of grace.
So, any type of prayer done out of habit or tradition does not approach God’s throne of grace with confidence or boldness.
We are to approach the throne of grace knowing we already have “permission to speak freely.” It’s not about saying beautiful words to please God or trying to sound super-spiritual, which is something Jesus condemned (Matthew 6:7-8).
That won’t impress God. Jesus covered that, so you can come to God’s throne precisely as you are to tell Him about your needs.
Of course, we are still talking to the Almighty God, so we should be respectful. This doesn’t mean talking to Him with disrespect. But it does mean being frank and honest. Outspoken, frank, and blunt, as the Greek words say.
I’m convinced that some of the most honest prayers start with the words, “God, I’m not sure how to pray, so I’m just going to say it.”
It shows someone who approaches the throne, knowing that they don’t deserve it but somehow hoping or knowing that God will hear them anyway.
And that is the heart of the gospel – the God Who reaches out to fallen people and creates a way for them to reach Him.
Whatever your need may be, remember that God has given His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die so that you and I can have access to His throne.
You don’t have to make an appointment, bathe seven times, recite a Psalm, or sacrifice a lamb to get to Him.
All you need is to go to the throne of grace and humbly but boldly (without mincing your words) make your needs known to Him. He will give you mercy and grace in your time of need.
The throne of grace is God’s place of rulership over our current age. And, through His grace, He made way for us to approach Him in prayer and boldly, with confidence, tell Him about our needs.
And, in return, He promises to give us mercy and grace so we can overcome whatever it is we are facing.
However, it’s always important to remember that this is not because we are fantastic or perfect, and we don’t have to be either of those things to approach His throne.
It’s all because of Jesus Christ, and if we are in Him, we have that access, no matter what we are going through in our lives.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…